Chickpea and Spinach Curry

This quick and delicious weeknight skillet dinner is packed with protein and veggies. It's also vegan and gluten free.

This Chickpea and Spinach Curry is one of my all-time favorite vegan recipes. It’s packed with veggies, protein, and fiber, and it can be cooked from start to finish in 20 minutes.

This quick and delicious weeknight skillet dinner is packed with protein and veggies. It's also vegan and gluten free.

Sometimes I make this curry as a quick weeknight dinner, but most often I actually make a batch and divide it into lunches for the week. It’s a perfect lunch because it holds up well in the fridge and it can be eaten by itself or with a grain or bread. One serving is one heaping cup (which feels like a lot) and it has 208 calories, 10g of protein, 9g of fiber, and a healthy serving of spinach.

Get the recipe


Easy Focaccia Bread Recipe

Soft and fluffy focaccia bread with rosemary and sea salt. It's so easy - perfect for a novice baker.

Breads, Fall Recipes, Italian | February 11, 2016 | By

This easy focaccia bread recipe is a staple in my kitchen. My mom has been making it for years and I loved it when I was a kid, and now my family loves it too. Focaccia is an Italian bread easily recognized by its signature dimples. It’s crisp on the outside, fluffy on the inside, and usually topped with olive oil, sea salt, and herbs.easyfocacciarecipe

This recipe is about as simple as it gets when it comes to bread. It requires just a few ingredients: flour, salt, olive oil, yeast, water, and sugar, plus the toppings of your choice. If you’re a novice bread maker, starting with a simple, diary free recipe is the way to go.

Most focaccia bread recipes call for similar ingredients, so the method is what makes this recipe particularly easy. Some focaccia recipes call for rising the dough overnight, or require a lot of complicated folding or kneading. This recipe is made in a mixer, rises quickly, and is baked in a standard rimmed baking sheet.

Get the recipe


Flavored Homemade Microwave Popcorn

Six flavors of homemade microwave popcorn, a healthy, satisfying snack that has only 120 calories.

Microwave popcorn is a popular snack with our family. The smell of corn popping brings people running from all corners of the house, hoping for a “sample,” or maybe a little bit more. People in our family have been known to hide their stash of microwave popcorn in dresser drawers and closets, just to keep it out of other family members’ greedy hands. 

Reading the ingredient list on a package of commercial microwave popcorn might send people running in the other direction, though. Most microwave popcorn contains the chemical preservative TBHQ, and the strong “buttery” taste and aroma of some microwave popcorn comes from chemical flavorings, such as Pentanedione

A better alternative is to make your own microwave popcorn, so you control the ingredients. The cost is a lot lower than commercial microwave popcorn, and you can experiment with creative seasonings and flavor combinations. Another great thing about this recipe is that it’s lower in calories than most microwave popcorn – 30 calories per cup, compared to 64 calories per cup for “movie theater butter” microwave popcorn. 

get the recipe


Balsamic Roasted Carrots

Balsamic roasted carrots is an easy side dish that takes only five minutes to prepare.

Boring vegetable sides are easy to understand – it’s hard enough to come up with a main dish for dinner at the end of a long day, so by the time you get to the side dishes, opening up a can or drizzling bottled dressing on a bagged salad seems like all you can handle. That’s why a recipe like this one is such a lifesaver. Tangy, sweet and salty, with a deep roasted flavor and a hint of garlic, these balsamic roasted carrots require only five minutes of prep time followed by about 30 minutes in the oven. They’re so simple and versatile, you’ll find yourself making them again and again.

get the recipe

One Pot Tortellini and Tomato Soup

One Pot Tortellini and Tomato Soup - comforting and hearty, but still quick and easy; a perfect weeknight dinner for cold winter nights.

I absolutely love when I can take a tried-and-true recipe and transform it into something new, so my favorite tomato soup recipe has now become One Pot Tortellini and Tomato Soup. It’s an adaptation of my Crock-Pot Tomato Soup recipe with just a few changes that make a big difference. 

One Pot Tomato and Tortellini Soup - comforting and hearty, but still quick and easy; a perfect weeknight dinner for cold winter nights.

The biggest change: tortellini, of course. There is something about adding pasta to tomato soup that makes it so comforting and extra delicious. My mom likes to add orzo to her tomato soup (yum), and in my house we are big tortellini fans. It’s so cheesy and hearty, and I always like to have a package in my freezer ready for cold winter nights when I’m short on time.

get the recipe


Fool-Proof Buttermilk Biscuits from Scratch

Step by step directions for making fool-proof light, flaky, buttery buttermilk biscuits from scratch. No baking mixes or canned biscuits required.

When I think of classic homemade buttermilk biscuits I think buttery, flaky, and simple… but if you’re familiar with the process of making homemade biscuits you’ll know it’s not always quite so simple. Once you start looking for the perfect buttermilk biscuit recipe you’ll find yourself caught in the middle of many arguments: shortening vs. butter, self-rising flour vs. all-purpose, pastry cutter vs. food processor…

While on the search for the perfect fool-proof buttermilk biscuits from scratch, I studied more than 20 different recipes, watched more videos than I can remember, and thought way more about biscuits than any one person should. My goal was to develop a fool-proof recipe that was delicious, flaky, relatively simple, and made with ingredients you most likely already have on hand, and this recipe ended up being one of my new favorites.

Canned biscuits are easy and all over Pinterest, but if you’ve never made homemade biscuits before I dare you to make these and taste the difference. Don’t be nervous, I’m here to guide you step by step.


Step by step directions for making fool-proof light, flaky, buttery buttermilk biscuits from scratch. No baking mixes or canned biscuits required.

The Ingredients

Buttermilk is (of course) the key ingredient in buttermilk biscuits, but I never have it on hand and when I do buy it, half the bottle ends up going bad before I can use it. I chose to use a buttermilk substitute instead of the real thing, adding a small amount of vinegar to milk and letting it sit for about 10 minutes.

Most biscuit recipes call for unsalted butter, but a recipe that calls for unsalted butter also calls for me to make an additional trip to the grocery store, which I’m not interested in. If you would prefer to use unsalted butter just add 1 teaspoon of table salt to the flour mixture.

I also chose to skip shortening in this recipe, which is really just a matter of personal preference. Of course biscuits aren’t a health food, but I generally try not to use shortening unless absolutely necessary.

Step by step directions for making fool-proof light, flaky, buttery buttermilk biscuits from scratch. No baking mixes or canned biscuits required.

The Process

The cardinal rule of buttermilk biscuit making is don’t overwork the dough, but it is possible to under-work it. Southern Living suggests that 15 stirs is the perfect number of times to stir your dough, but because the dough starts to really come together at the end and becomes a little difficult to stir, I say 15-18.

If rule #1 of making buttermilk biscuits is don’t overwork the dough then rule #2 is don’t twist the cutter. For some reason twisting the cutter just feels right, but when you do the edges of the dough are sealed, preventing maximum rise.

Most people use a pastry cutter to combine the butter with the dry ingredients in a buttermilk biscuit recipe; some people use a food processor. I say skip them both and use a cheese grater instead. It’s the easiest way to easily distribute the fat into the flour mixture and keep the butter cold at the same time. This recipe requires a whole stick of frozen butter, but only 6 out of 8 tablespoons go directly into the dough. The reason you don’t want to cut the 2 tablespoons off of the stick before grating is that the easiest way to grate the butter is to keep the stick whole, peel back the wrapping to the beginning of the 7 tablespoon mark and grate it down until there are only 2 tablepoons left. It keeps your hands clean and keeps you from slicing your fingers on the cheese grater.

Some argue that you must roll your buttermilk biscuit dough out with a rolling pin because the heat of your hands will warm up the butter, and your biscuits won’t be flaky. Others say you must use your hands because using a rolling pin will activate too much gluten and your biscuits will be tough. I personally prefer to use my hands to press out and shape the dough. It’s much easier to manipulate the dough and I think freezing the dry ingredients and butter makes up for any added heat from your hands.

Step by step directions for making fool-proof light, flaky, buttery buttermilk biscuits from scratch. No baking mixes or canned biscuits required.

Get the recipe

Best Ever Mexican Black Beans

These really are the best ever Mexican black beans. Served as a side, on tacos or salads, or in burritos or enchiladas, they're delicious, quick, and easy!

I know food bloggers are prone to hyperbole, but I really think these are the best ever Mexican Black Beans. I’m aware that it’s crazy to get excited about black beans, but that’s how much I really love this recipe. It’s super versatile and my family absolutely loves it. The recipe can be made in under 15 minutes and all you need is…

These really are the best ever Mexican black beans. Served as a side, on tacos or salads, or in burritos or enchiladas, they're delicious, quick, and easy!

Honestly, I make these black beans so often that I don’t really use a recipe, I just make them from memory. Writing the recipe down reminded me how quick and easy it really is. One thing you’ll notice about this recipe is that it calls for a little less liquid than most Mexican black bean recipes and that means the consistency ends up being slightly different. There’s a little less liquid in the final product and it’s less (for lack of a better word) soupy. If you like you’r black beans served in a little more liquid, feel free to add more tomato juice. I think it is the tomato juice that is the real magic ingredient in this recipe. Most Mexican black bean recipes call for chicken or vegetable stock, but the tomato juice adds so much more flavor.


These really are the best ever Mexican black beans. Served as a side, on tacos or salads, or in burritos or enchiladas, they're delicious, quick, and easy!

It was actually my toddler’s love of this recipe that led to it being made so often in our house. Not too long after his first birthday I made these for the first time. He ate them by the handful, and ended up covered in beans from head to toe. He started asking for beans every night for dinner and eventually I had to make a rule that we would only eat these once a week. He just turned two and still loves these just as much as the first time he ate them.

Get the recipe

Roasted Garlic Hummus with Black Pepper Pita Chips

Roasted garlic hummus with black pepper pita chips is a healthy snack.

Beans, Snacks, Vegetarian | January 13, 2016 | By

Hummus and I go way back. Back to the early ’90s, in fact. It’s a long story, but my daughter Allison – yes, the same Allison who is my FoodLove blogging partner – could not swallow solid food for the first couple of years of her life. Everything she ate had to be pureed, mashed, or chopped into tiny pieces. I was in graduate school in Chicago at the time, and Allison had a nanny – a lovely, tall, rail-thin young woman from Israel named Iris. Iris was sympathetic about Allie’s eating problems, and one day she told me, “I’m going to teach you how to make the most wonderful food, that my mom makes at home in Israel.” That’s when I learned how to make hummus.

Iris didn’t seem too impressed by my hummus-making efforts, and I’m sure my early attempts at hummus didn’t compare with her mother’s. But I thought it was a miracle. Here was a food that was nutritious, easy to make, inexpensive and delicious, that my daughter could eat. Bonus – my husband and I loved it, too! So I like to brag that I knew hummus before hummus was cool – in the United States, at least. Now you can buy hummus at every grocery store or 7-11, or by the half gallon at Costco, but it’s a lot cheaper to make it for yourself. I like to try different varieties of hummus, but my favorite is the traditional Middle Eastern style, flavored with lemon, garlic, cumin, parsley and olive oil.

 

Get the recipe


Crock-Pot Tomato Soup

An easy, low-calorie, vegan, and delicious tomato soup recipe perfect for weeknight dinners. Only 85 calories per cup!

There’s nothing I love more than a dinner that practically makes itself. Except perhaps a dinner that practically makes itself that’s also cheap, healthy, low-calorie, crowd-pleasing, and most importantly, delicious. This Crock-Pot Tomato Soup recipe is a staple in my kitchen during the colder months. The family gets to sit down together over a warm meal, even when I just walked in the door.

This soup is also great for entertaining family or friends who are vegetarian, vegan, or have food allergies. On it’s own its totally vegan and each guest can add toppings to their liking and sensitivity.

You’ll notice that this recipe calls for canned tomatoes instead of fresh, which makes it a perfect addition to your fall and winter dinner rotation. While I cherish the delicious, ripe tomatoes my back yard garden produces each year, canned tomatoes are a great option for when tomatoes are not in season and actually have some interesting health benefits.


I love that the prep time for this recipe is minimal. In the morning I quickly sauté the veggies, throw everything in the Crock-Pot and leave for the day. When I get home, I blend for a few minutes, and dinner’s ready. I like to serve this soup with a variety of soup toppings, a quick green salad and grilled cheese sandwiches on our Panini press. Each family member gets to choose their own soup and sandwich toppings, so it pleases kids and adults alike.

An easy, low-calorie, vegan, and delicious tomato soup recipe perfect for weeknight dinners. Only 85 calories per cup!

Crock-Pot Tomato Soup
 
Prep time:
Cook time:
Total time:
Serves: 8 cups
An easy, low-calorie, vegan, and delicious tomato soup recipe perfect for weeknight dinners. Only 85 calories per cup!
Ingredients
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 small onion – coarsely chopped
  • 1 red bell pepper – coarsely chopped
  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic
  • 2 28-oz cans diced tomatoes
  • 1 cup vegetable broth
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • Red pepper flakes, to taste
  • Chopped fresh basil, for garnish
Instructions
  1. In a large skillet, heat olive oil to medium-high. Cook and stir garlic, onions, and bell peppers until softened, about 5 minutes.
  2. Combine sauteed vegetables, tomatoes, vegetable broth, salt, and red pepper flakes in Crock-Pot. Cover and cook on low for 8 hours.
  3. Using an immersion blender, blend soup until smooth. Serve immediately with fresh basil as a garnish.
  4. Top with Parmesan cheese, croutons, yogurt, or grilled cheese croutons as desired.
Serving size: 8 Calories: 85 Fat: 2g Carbohydrates: 14g Sugar: 7g Sodium: 526mg Fiber: 4g Protein: 2g

 

An easy, low-calorie, vegan, and delicious tomato soup recipe perfect for weeknight dinners. Only 86 calories per cup!